The Novel: How to Understand It



Download 297.12 Kb.
Page1/9
Date25.02.2016
Size297.12 Kb.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9



Student Study Guide


The Novel: How to Understand It

Before you can successfully tackle your understanding of any novel it is important to understand the history of the novel. In understanding its history you can better understand how to interpret it. The history of the English novel began with the publication of Daniel Defoe’ Robinson Crusoe in 1719. This is not to say that people weren’t writing before then – they certainly were – but not in the form that we recognise today as the novel. The novel arose at a time when writers were beginning to look at the way people interacted with society. Writers have, of course, always been interested in the world around them, but the development of the novel reflected a move away from an essentially religious view of life towards a new interest in the complexities of everyday experience and with the experiences of ordinary people - not kings and conquerors. Most novels therefore are concerned with ordinary people and their problems in the societies in which they find themselves.

Novels do not, however, present a documentary picture of life. What do we mean by this? It means that novels are not just a snapshot of life at if someone was recording the actions of people as they went about their daily business. Alongside the fact that novels look at people in society, the other major characteristic of the genre is the novels tell a story. In fact, novels tend to tell the same few stories time and time again. A Farewell to Arms it could be said is a novel that explores the horrors of war and people’s response to them – does that sound like a familiar theme? What novelists do is frequently focus on the tensions between individuals and the society in which they live, presenting characters who are at odds with that society. A lot of novels have young people as the main characters, for it is often the young who feel themselves to be most at odds with the conventional standards of society. Think about Frederic Henry in A Farewell to Arms; how is he at odds with the society of his time? Does Catherine Barkley represent someone at odds with her society?

You will have made considerable progress in understanding any novel that you are reading if you can see how it sets certain individuals against society or their family. As an exercise: for about 10 minutes jot down in note form how you think Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley represent characters that are at odds with their society. In doing so think not just of the direct action in the novel, but how they might be reacting to social and family standards in the broader sense. Think, for instance about what Frederic’s relationship is to his family.

So, in thinking about a novel, try and see this structure that informs it: A society, and characters who are in some ways at odds with this society. Do not, however, make the mistake of believing that the novel is written to put across a point. It is true that some novelists are moralists – they are trying to put forward their ideas about how people should behave – but it would be too simple to say about their novels is the message that they preach. To read a novel in this way is the result of people wanting a story that must have a point and a purpose. Novels are far too complex to treat them in such a simplistic and reductive way.

N
1


ovels are long works with a great amount of detail on every page. They thus present all the complicating facts that need to be taken into account before we can reach any sort of judgment. The effect of this detail is that we come to recognize the complex reality of a character or event in the story. Even though the novelist’s beliefs might be apparent – a writer generally leans in one of two directions, either suggesting that individuals should conform to society’s standards or suggesting that society is in such a bad state that individuals are bound to feel alienated – but a sense of the general tendency of the work must be complemented by an awareness of the richness of the texture of the novel. As readers, our real interest lies in the complication the novelist creates within the familiar pattern of characters at odds with their society that enable us to gain a vivid sense of what it is like for particular individuals to live their lives.

A productive critical method for achieving a sense of a novel’s complexity is to look closely at scenes which you found interesting or memorable, seeing how the details create a vivid and distinctive impression of an individual and society conflict.



Focus question: What is a scene or episode in A Farewell to Arms that you found interesting or memorable? Describe that scene and note the reasons why you found it interesting or memorable. How does this scene reflect a character at odds with his/her society?

Overview: A Farewell to Arms
Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Illinois, on July 21, 1899. After a brief stint as a reporter for the Kansas City Star, Hemingway joined a volunteer American Red Cross unit as a driver in World War I. Hemingway was like many young men of the time who saw the war as a chance for adventure, however he wa sn’t physically fit enough to join the regular army. Hemingway, who had defective vision in his left eye, expressed these viewpoints when, prior to joining, he wrote to his sister, Marcelline, "But I'll make it to Europe some way in spite of this optic.  I can't let a show like this go on without getting into it." He served in Italy and was seriously wounded during an Austrian attack. Shortly after the war, Hemingway lived in Paris, where he became a key figure of what is sometimes called the "Lost Generation." The term refers generally to the post-World War I generation, whose members felt disillusioned with the war and its consequences; more specifically, the term refers to a group of leading writers and artists of the period. This was the time in which Hemingway began work on A Farewell to Arms, a novel that epitomized his disillusionment with the war.

Events in History at the Time the Novel Takes Place

World War I

T
2


he outbreak of World War I, or the "Great War," began with a territorial dispute between the vast empire of Austria-Hungary and the nation of Serbia. After the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, Serbian nationalists took on the cause of the South Slavs of the Austria-Hungarian empire, deciding that it was time for these people to be liberated. These Serbian nationalists believed that their aims could be furthered with the assassination of the Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand. On June 28, 1914, the archduke and his wife Sophie were shot dead by a young Serbian radical while touring Sarajevo.

The leaders of Austria-Hungary saw the murder as a good opportunity to launch aggressions against Serbia and to increase the empire's prestige and power in the Balkans. With promises of German support, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Subsequently Russia, committed to protecting fellow Slavs in Serbia, mobilized its troops against Austria-Hungary. When France also began to mobilize for war on the side of Serbia, Germany declared war on both France and Russia. German troops invaded Belgium to secure a position for an assault on France, and Great Britain, committed to Belgium's defense, then declared war against Germany.

On September 5, 1914, Russia, France, and Great Britain, also known as the Allied Powers, concluded the Treaty of London, each promising not to make a separate peace with the Central Powers of Germany and Austria-Hungary. The outbreak of the war was generally greeted with confidence and satisfaction by the people of Europe, who were inspired by a surging patriotism. Most Europeans felt that the conflict would run its course much more quickly than previous wars because of recent developments in weapons and strategy. But as the armies entrenched themselves on the both the western front, where the Central Powers faced the French and British, and the eastern front where the Central Powers faced the Russians, prolonged battles ensued. Participants and citizenry alike realized that the initial hopes for a rapid resolution would not be realized.
Technological Advancements in World War I
The development of new and improved weapons around the turn of the twentieth century greatly influenced the course of World War I. The most powerful advancements were the machine gun and the rapid-fire artillery gun. The modern machine gun, developed in the 1880s and `90s, was a reliable belt-fed gun capable of firing 600 bullets per minute with a range of more than 1,000 yards. Newly developed field artillery benefited from the introduction of improved loading mechanisms and brakes. Without brakes, a mounted gun moved out of position during firing and had to be re-aimed after each round. The new brakes meant that the guns did not need to be repositioned and so increased the rate of fire and the accuracy of the artillery. Yet another invention that profoundly changed the face of war was not itself a weapon. This device, invented to control cattle of the western United States, was barbed wire, and it became a key factor in the shaping of World War I battlefields.

W
3


ith these innovations came trench warfare, the predominant method of battle in World War I. Armies positioned themselves in elaborate trench networks defended by barbed wire, machine guns, and heavy artillery. Usually supported by artillery fire, infantry forces assaulted the trenches of the opposing army in an attempt to gain ground. This new style of trench fighting was characterized by short attacks made under barrages of artillery; suicide assaults against machine gun positions; elaborate tunnel mining; brutal night skirmishes in "no man's land," the open area between the opposing trenches; and moving walls of artillery fire that, in some battles, could send eighteen shells into each square yard of battlefront. Understandably this warfare was incredibly deadly. In a single day of fighting during the Battle of the Somme, for example, the British army suffered 57,470 casualties.

Italy's Role in World War I
Since 1882 Italy had been allied with Germany and Austria-Hungary through the Triple Alliance. Because this treaty was only a defensive pact, and Austria-Hungary and Germany were the aggressors in World War I, Italy was not obliged to enter the war on their side. Even though the Italian government refused to become involved, it demanded that Italy should still profit from the conflict. If Austria-Hungary improved its position in the Balkans, the Italians wanted the Trentino, a piece of Austrian-held land that some Italians had desired for years. When Austria was slow to meet this request, Italy demanded the immediate surrender of the border region of South Tyrol and several islands in the Adriatic Sea. By the time Germany persuaded the Austrians to agree to these demands, Italy had begun negotiations with the other side. Having no stake in the European territory themselves, Allied Forces leaders of Russia, England, and France immediately promised Italy the desired land from Austria as well as aid in expanding the Italian territories in Northern Africa if Italy would join them in the fight against the Central Powers. Italy agreed to join the Allies in the secret Treaty of London on April 26, 1915, and immediately began mobilization efforts. Italy's ostensible role in the conflict was to divert the Austrian forces in order to keep them from aiding the German army on the western and eastern fronts.

I


4
taly was poorly prepared for war, however, and made little progress against the Austrians during the first year of the conflict. Both sides traded victories and defeats during the almost nonstop battles of the Isonzo, a strategically important river in Italy. During 1916 alone, Italy suffered 500,000 casualties in the course of this fighting. It is during one of these battles that Hemingway's Frederick Henry is wounded in A Farewell to Arms.
See website: http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/if.htm.

The Ambulance Service in World War I
With the development of the technologically advanced weaponry that was determining the course of the war came the need for better emergency medical services. In the early nineteenth century, ambulance service had been defined as the "hospital establishments moving with armies in the field, and organized for providing early surgical assistance to the wounded after battles" (Haller, p. 1). By the twentieth century, the term ambulance had also come to mean the actual vehicles that carried the wounded, this definition deriving from British and American misuse of the term.

The immediate and effective evacuation of the wounded not only avoided the permanent loss of many soldiers' battlefield services but also helped the morale of those who remained fighting. Prior to successful ambulance use, the prospect of being abandoned on the battlefield made soldiers less willing to fight; it also meant that able-bodied soldiers would not have to leave the firing line to assist the wounded to safety. Ambulances also became crucial in the medical severity of a wound. The prompt evacuation of stricken soldiers could mean the difference between a minor injury and a wound that became fatal because of infection or delayed treatment.

On the eve of World War I, ambulances of the British and American armies were a mixture of horse-drawn and machine-powered vehicles. Motorized vehicles were put to use as ambulances almost from their inception. Yet even with the benefit of motorized vehicles, the resources of medical personnel were sorely tested during the war. The drastic rise in casualties that came as a result of the innovations in weapons technology more than compensated for improved evacuation procedures. During the Battle of the Somme, personnel worked three days just to clear the wounded and dead from the battlefield.

D
5


espite the humanitarian function of the ambulance service, it was not uncommon for its personnel to face the same violence experienced by the soldiers. Despite precautions, such as the use of the Red Cross flag while on the field, stretcher parties and ambulance crews took hostile fire--and during major battles sustained heavy casualties. In many circumstances it became common for the medical personnel to remove their white arm-bands and uniforms, which made them easy targets for enemy guns. In A Farewell to Arms, Frederick Henry is wounded by artillery fire while serving as an ambulance officer during one of the battles by the Isonzo River. This episode in the novel is modeled after Hemingway's own injury suffered on the Fossalta di Piave front in 1918.

Vocabulary

The following lists of words are found in the novel A Farewell to Arms. They represent the list of words that will be found in tasks and exercises throughout this workbook.



abyss

anarchists

appreciate

articulation

athiest

authority



blaspheme

brittleness

buttresses

censor


champion

cloistered

coagulate

compatriots

conceited

consecrated

conspicuous contemptuous

converging

cynicism

deprecating

dispute

eddy


edifying

epithet


exhausted

feigned


felicitations

fiasco


furrowed

gaunt


gratuitously

gravely


haughty

ingenious

irrigation

jaundiced

junction

mercurial

mobility

mutinied


profound

protracted

rupture

severing


slackened

summarily

tentatively

transparent

ungainly

voluble


athiest

censor


jaundiced

dispute


cloistered

edifying


rupture

mutinied


furrowed

feigned


appreciate

junction


voluble

profound


coagulate

severing


gravely

blaspheme

fiasco

exhausted



gaunt

articulation

felicitations

conceited

irrigation

authority

compatriots

ingenious

buttresses

transparent

mobility

mercurial

consecrated

anarchists

converging

epithet


summarily

eddy


contemptuous

conspicuous

brittleness

abyss


cynicism

deprecating

haughty

champion


tentatively

ungainly


protracted

slackened

gratuitously



6


Vocabulary Exercise

Directions: Match the word in the left column with the correct definition in the right column:







1

abyss

a.

coming from the proper authority; dictatorial




2

anarchist

b.

a support or prop




3

appreciate

c.

to speak distinctly; expressing oneself clearly




4

articulate

d.

bottomless hole; a vast expanse or depth




5

atheist

e.

irreverent; profane




6

authoritative

f.

to increase in value




7

blasphemous

g.

fragile; frail; easily damaged




8

brittle

h.

one who does not believe in God




9

buttress

i.

critical




10

censorious

j.

one who believes in the absence of government and law and in a state of disorder



The Novel in Focus

The Plot

Frederick Henry is an American serving as a volunteer ambulance officer in Italy during World War I. The Italians are fighting the Austrians in an attempt to hinder their aid to the German army on the western and eastern fronts. Henry's ambulance unit is stationed in Gorizia, a northern Italian town that had previously been held by the Austrian forces. When Henry earns a leave during a break in the fighting, he spends his time drinking and carousing with his roommate, Rinaldi, an Italian army surgeon.

Rinaldi tells Henry about the beautiful English nurses at the hospital and mentions one Miss Barkley in particular. Henry meets Catherine Barkley in the hospital with Rinaldi and finds her indeed very beautiful. During their first meeting, Catherine tells Henry about her fiancé, who was killed in the Battle of the Somme. At first, Henry is not in love with Catherine, but he does desire an affair with her. But despite his initial intentions not to become romantically involved, Henry realizes that he is lonely without Catherine and tries to spend more time with her.

D
7


uring one of the Italian forces' battles with the Austrians, Henry is wounded by an explosion from a mortar round and one of his drivers is killed. Rinaldi visits Henry in the field hospital and encourages him to petition for a medal. Henry is sent to the American hospital in Milan, and Catherine arranges to be transferred there as well. At this point, Catherine and Henry truly fall in love and spend every free moment together. This is made easier by Catherine's assignment as the night nurse in Henry's ward. As their physical intimacy continues, Henry worries about the immorality of their relations. Catherine is not in the least concerned with these considerations. When she informs Henry that she is pregnant, she asks him if he feels trapped. He replies that men always feel trapped.

After his recovery Henry is sent back to the front and finds that the war is going poorly. He is constantly confronted by visions of death and has several realizations about the destruction and pointlessness of war. When the Germans and Austrians begin their drive into Italy, the Italian troops are forced to retreat from the city of Caporetto. As the retreat becomes more chaotic, Henry shoots an Italian sergeant who refuses his order to help dig out an ambulance stuck in the mud. One of Henry's drivers, afraid of being killed, surrenders to the German army. Henry is confronted by Italian military police, who accuse him of treason for retreating from the enemy. Realizing that all retreating officers are being sent to a firing squad, Henry runs away. He then takes off his uniform and deserts.

Henry reunites with Catherine in the small Italian town of Stresa. With Henry out of military service, they are finally able to enjoy a few moments of happiness. During this tranquil time, Henry fishes at the lake and befriends the elderly and distinguished Count Greffi. Feeling he and Catherine must leave Italy, Henry plans their escape to Switzerland, just across the lake from Stresa. During a heavy storm, Henry borrows a boat and rows all night to reach the Swiss border.

Happy in neutral Switzerland, Henry and Catherine discuss marriage, but Catherine asserts she wishes to wait until after the baby is born. Henry takes Catherine to the hospital when she goes into labor. The doctor announces that they must perform a Caesarean section to save the mother and child, and Henry agrees. Despite the emergency operation, both the baby and Catherine die. Henry realizes the risks of falling in love and determines not to put faith in anything but himself.







Across

2 to increase in value (10)

5 very thin; emaciated; angular (5)

6 scorn; extreme dislike or disdain (8)

8 a fellow countryman (10)

10 profound knowledge; intellectual depth (10)

13 to speak distinctly, expressing oneself clearly (10)

15 one who believes in the absence of government or law (9)

16 to wet, to supply with water (8)

17 bottomless hole, a vast expanse or depth (5)

18 to prolong (8)

Down

1 to make wrinkles or grooves (6)

3 coming from the proper authority;dictatorial; conclusive (13)

4 a current of air or water moving contrary to the main current (4)

7 rebellious; unruly (8)

9 to cut or to separate (5)


8
11
a false appearance; a fake punch to occupy defenses allowing a real blow (5)

12 given to faultfinding, sneering and sarcasm; exhibiting mocking disbelief (7)

13 one who does not believe in God (7)

14 a term or phrase describing or characterising (7)

Antiwar Sentiment in A Farewell to Arms
One of the most powerful and pervasive elements in A Farewell to Arms is its constant condemnation of war and the false idealism that flourishes during wartime. The condemnation begins early in the novel when Frederick Henry has not yet made his own realizations about the futility and senselessness of the war. In Chapter 9, Henry discusses the war with his ambulance crew, who "were all mechanics and hated the war" (Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, p. 48). One of the drivers, Manera, expresses the sentiment that, "If everybody would not attack the war would be over" ( A Farewell to Arms, p. 49). Henry, still full of idealism about the war, disagrees with this attitude and tells the drivers, "It would only be worse if we stopped fighting" ( A Farewell to Arms, p. 48). Another driver, Passini, challenges Henry and says, "War is not won by victory.... Why don't we stop fighting? If they come down into Italy they will get tired and go away. They have their own country. But no, instead there is war" ( A Farewell to Arms, pp. 50-1).

It is not until the retreat from Caporetto that Henry comes full circle and discovers what he perceives to be the true nature of war. During the retreat Henry thinks about the war and talks about the idealism that supports it:


I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious , and sacrifice and the expression in vain. We had heard them, sometimes standing in the rain almost out of earshot, so that only the shouted words came through, and had read them, on proclamations that were slapped up by billposters over other proclamations, now for a long time, and I had seen nothing sacred, and the other things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it. ( A Farewell to Arms, pp. 184-85)
At this point, Henry is thoroughly disgusted and disillusioned with the war and has come to reject his earlier ideals. By showing this transformation in Henry and the events and conditions that brought this change, the novel presents a gradual and effective condemnation of wartime idealism. During the time that Hemingway was writing the novel, such sentiments of disillusionment with the war were commonly expressed by the "Lost Generation," a group of writers and artists of whom Hemingway was a leading figure.

Sources
Many of the situations and characters in A Farewell to Arms came from Hemingway's own experience with the war in Italy. Not long after high school Hemingway volunteered as a Red Cross ambulance driver in 1917. Just like Frederick Henry, Hemingway was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Ambulance Corps. Several other aspects of Hemingway's war ordeal became part of Henry's experience in the novel. Henry was posted in northern Italy and, like Hemingway, received a wound from a mortar round. Even the details of the wound to the leg are based exactly on the novelist's own injury.

H
9


enry recovers from his wound in a Milan hospital, where he continues his affair with Catherine. Hemingway also convalesced in Milan and, like his character Henry, fell in love with his nurse, an American named Agnes von Kurowsky, who was reciprocal in her affections. Like Catherine in the novel, she volunteered for the night shift to spend time with him. Unlike Catherine, who becomes completely devoted to Henry, Agnes jilted Hemingway and became engaged to an Italian nobleman.

Henry's closet full of empty cognac bottles and his bout of jaundice during his recovery were also based on Hemingway's experiences in the Milan hospital. The character of Count Greffi is based on the real-life Count Greppi, an aged diplomat whom Hemingway met during a trip to Stresa in September of 1918. One difference in Hemingway's experience is that he did not actually arrive in Italy until the year after the battle at Caporetto, the climax in the novel; he was still in high school during the famous retreat.



Events in History at the Time the Novel Was Written

Hemingway and the "Lost Generation"

Several twentieth-century American writers came to terms with their feelings for America and developed their own artistic abilities in Paris. The French capital welcomed many young artists who, in the 1920s, were little appreciated in the United States. Other grounds for the growing number of exiled artists in Paris included the effects of the war, which had brought many Americans to Europe for humanitarian reasons; a new and inexpensive steamship fare, called Tourist Third, that brought artists and students to Europe by the thousands; and the favorable exchange rate, which made life in Europe wonderfully inexpensive for American travelers. American artists could live fashionably in Paris, spending their free time drinking in cafés; by contrast, their compatriots on American soil were legally prevented from drinking alcohol because of the Prohibition (1922-1933).

This "Lost Generation" of American artists, as they came to be known, coalesced around their common feelings of disillusionment about the war. The label "Lost Generation" originated, in fact, in relation to the war. A French hotel owner was speaking to the writer Gertrude Stein about a mechanic repairing her car. The war, observed the hotel owner, had robbed young men like the mechanic of a proper education in their formative years, leaving them a lost generation. Stein, remembering the expression, applied it to Hemingway and his circle. Then he quoted the expression in his novel The Sun Also Rises (1926), and "the words became the label for an entire literary generation" (Hendrickson, p. 329). The label extended to writers like F. Scott Fitzgerald and e. e. cummings, Americans who, like Hemingway, felt alienated from the pre-world war values of their nation. "For meaning," explains one historian of the Paris literary set, "Hemingway and his generation turned to art, that is, to its order and beauty, to the preservation of the word. Style was to be a barrier against chaos and the loss of faith" (Fitch, p. 163).

Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms epitomizes the disillusionment of the Lost Generation with its stark portrayal of war and its attack on the idealism that fueled the incredible bloodshed of World War I. Henry voices this perspective: "There were many words that you could not stand to hear and finally only the names of places had dignity.... Abstract words such as glory, honor, courage, or hallow were obscene beside the concrete names of villages, the number of roads, the names of rivers, the numbers of regiments and the dates" ( A Farewell to Arms, p. 185).



10


Anti-War Poets - Wilfred Owen

Anthem for Doomed Youth


What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
    Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
    Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them from prayers or bells,
    Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
    And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?


    Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes.
    The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of silent maids,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
Do some research on another World War One poet and present one of their poems to the class. With your interpretation you are to give a brief biography of the author, explain why you chose the poem, and what you think the poem means.




Across

2 to prolong (8)

6 a current of air or water moving contrary to the main current (4)

8 happy or delightful (10)

10 to increase in value (10)

14 one who believes in the absence of government or law (9)

16 to cut or to separate (5)

17 a fellow countryman (10)

18 a support or prop (8)

Down

1 to dedicate or to declare sacred (10)

3 bottomless hole, a vast expanse or depth (5)

4 given to faultfinding, sneering and sarcasm; exhibiting mocking disbelief (7)

5 capable of moving or being moved (6)

7 inclined to fight, to argue or to debate (12)

9 to use up; to drain (7)

11 to wet, to supply with water (8)

12 not fully worked out; provisional; uncertain (9)

13 to seclude or to confine (8)


11
15
a false appearance; a fake punch to occupy defenses allowing a real blow (5)

Vocabulary

Directions: Match the word in the left column with the correct definition in the right column:







1

champion

a.

to defend or support




2

cloister

b.

obvious; noticeable; attracting attention




3

coagulate

c.

given to faultfinding, sneering and sarcasm




4

compatriot

d.

to seclude or confine




5

conceit

e.

scorn; extreme dislike or disdain




6

consecrate

f.

to move together




7

conspicuous

g.

to dedicate or declare sacred




8

contempt

h.

to gather together in a mass; clot




9

converge

i.

a fellow countryman




10

cynical

j.

excessively high opinion of one’s worth or ability

A Farewell to Arms

Characters

  • Lieutenant Henry (ch 1)—narrator and protagonist. He is an American soldier who joined the war on the Italian side.

  • The priest (ch2) —a military priest who is mocked by the other soldiers, but befriends Henry

  • Lt. Rinaldi (ch 3)—Henry’s friend, also an officer.

  • Helen Ferguson (ch 4)—Catherine’s friend and another nurse.

  • Catherine Barkley (ch 4)—A nurse whom Henry falls in love with.

  • Henry’s major (ch 9)—The major who is Henry’s superior

  • Passini (ch9)—ambulance driver

  • Gavuzzi (ch9)— ambulance driver

  • Manera (ch9)— ambulance driver

  • Gordini (ch9)— ambulance driver

  • Bonnello—ambulance driver

  • Mrs. Walker (ch 13)—a busy, overwhelmed nurse at the hospital in Milan

  • Ms. Gage (ch 13)—a nurse in Milan who seems to like Henry

  • Ms. Van Campen (ch 13)—the superintendent of the hospital in Milan

  • Dr. Valentini (ch 15)-operates on Henry’s knee

  • Mr and Mrs. Meyers (ch 19)—an elderly couple whom Henry spends time with in Milan.

  • Ettore Moretti (ch 19)—a soldier who brags about honors/medals, unlike Henry

  • Ralph Simmons (ch 19)—an opera singer who helps Henry escape to Stresa

  • Edgar Saunders (ch 19)—another opera singer whom Henry meets

  • Gino (ch 27) —soldier who talks about glory/honor

  • E
    12
    milio (ch34)
    —a bartender in Stresa

  • Count Greffi (ch35)—a rich and old man who Henry has discussions with in the hotel in Stresa

Lieutenant Frederic Henry


When we meet Frederic he is portrayed as underdeveloped, although we must remember that we see him through the interpretation of his older self and the many experiences that older man brings to the novel. Many characters suspect that there is a deeper aspect to his personality, but at this point it is hidden behind his participation in “manly pursuits” and a devotion to personal duty that has seen him travel to Italy to participate in a war that his own country is not involved in.

Frederic declines nominations for personal awards for bravery as he believes not in honour but in duty. This is a concept typical of the Hemingway hero. Typical too is that Frederic has spent his holiday in the brothels indulging his base instincts and forgetting the war for a short time.

On the other hand Frederic is the only member of the unit who will discuss abstract notions with the Priest and who does not participate in the slightly malicious taunting of the spiritual man. For his part, the Priest sees in Frederic the potential for both love and devotion, although at this point Frederic himself is adamant that he is incapable of feeling either of these things.

When he meets Catherine he is attracted both by her beauty and her straight talking about the realities of the war. Initially he treats Catherine as a participant in a game of bridge “I did not love Catherine Barkley, nor had any idea of loving her.” Their relationship is a diversion from the realities of the war that surrounds them and nothing more. As she nurses him, and their relationship deepens, Frederic becomes aware that he has fallen in love with her.

Similarly, although he has been at the front line of the war it is not until he is injured and until he witnesses war first-hand in the death of his comrade that he begins to question his involvement. In essence, through the injury, the uncertainty of recovery and the growth of his love Frederic emerges into a more rounded, mature and worldly man. The “baby” Rinaldi knows and “good/nice boy” Catherine first refers to becomes aware of the horror of the war and senseless waste of the slaughter that he has witnessed.
Focus question: In having Fredric Henry tell his own story in the first person, using such sparse, undecorated writing, does Hemingway diminish sympathy for his main character?

Catherine Barkley


The female lead character in the novel is Catherine Barkley, an English nurse who has volunteered to serve in Italy. The death of her fiancé has changed the way in which Catherine views life and conventional morality. When we meet her she has been engaged for eight years and remains a virgin, a state she clearly intends to rectify as soon as possible.


13


Catherine admits that her grief has made her “crazy” during this time, her behaviour has a hint of the hysterical and she still carries her fiancé’s riding crop around with her for example. She is clear that she has lost her faith in God and the afterlife, believing only in the here and now. Catherine is more mature than Frederic and is initially aggressive in her pursuit of him; it is she who initiates the “game” of seduction between them. Catherine engages in the relationship willingly and is worldlier than she appears – their “game” provides a respite from the horrible reality of the war that surrounds them.

Despite her intentions Catherine falls in love with Frederic although she is realistic about his feelings for her “You don’t have to pretend you love me,” she tells Henry “You see I’m not mad…”

Critics have decried Catherine’s transformation in the text from independent woman to dependent, pregnant homemaker. Once she falls in love, however, Catherine becomes dedicated to Frederic and dedication to him replaces traditional religious devotion in her life “You’re my religion” she tells him. Catherine faces each challenge presented to her on equal footing with Frederic. She faces the social opprobrium represented by Helen with grace.

In a world torn apart by war Catherine is aware that the old certainties are under attack. Her life is drastically altered by the war: her fiancé is dead; she is working as a nurse, living independently in a foreign country. The reality of death is one she is familiar with in both her personal life and her work.


Focus question: Do you regard Catherine as a realistic portrayal of a woman? Would she have been realistic for her time?

Lieutenant Rinaldi


The surgeon Rinaldi is a committed philanderer, a man of the flesh. Rinaldi is the first of the unit to meet Catherine and he is drawn to her in his usual light-hearted manner “I am now in love with Miss Barkley.”

Once, however, he introduces Frederic to Catherine and notices their mutual attraction he stands aside to allow Frederic to pursue her. Rinaldi’s attitude is a contrast to that of the priest; he represents the physical aspects of life. He appears to have no ideals or belief in a higher power, relying on his skills as a surgeon to save lives.



Focus question: What is Rinaldi’s role in the novel: is his importance to the plot only in introducing Catherine, or is he there perhaps to show Henry’s capacity for friendship? Are his views on war important?

The Priest


The priest represents a spiritual life and challenges Frederic to consider other, less tangible more abstract, aspects of life such as glory and honour. Unlike the other men in the unit, Frederic does not mock the priest and his beliefs. They become friends of a sort and have a number of conversations about the meaning of love and life. The priest reassures Frederic of his innate ability to love. When he tells him that he does not love anyone, and certainly does not love God the Priest says “You will…I know you will.”

Focus question: How does the character of the priest drive the plot in A Farewell to Arms: what is his role in shaping the novel’s characters and where does he play a part in the themes?

Helen Ferguson


Helen Ferguson is a Scottish nurse and friend of Catherine Barkley. She operates in the text as a counterpoint to Catherine and represents a more conservative attitude towards women’s roles, sexuality and social norms. It is Helen who warns Frederic about getting Catherine pregnant when they begin their affair, just as she castigates him for Catherine’s situation when they meet again in Stresa. Helen is, however, a loyal friend who genuinely wishes the best for Catherine, even though she is critical of her choices.





14

Across


4 excessively high opinion of one's own worth or ability (7)

6 very thin; emaciated; angular (5)

7 a false appearance; a fake punch to occupy defenses allowing a real blow (5)

9 coming from the proper authority;dictatorial; conclusive (13)

10 a current of air or water moving contrary to the main current (4)

11 ability to use words easily; fluent and glib (7)

14 to use up; to drain (7)

15 a point of joining (8)

17 to break apart; to burst (7)

18 to cut or to separate (5)

Down

1 to loosen; slow down; make less intense (7)

2 not fully worked out; provisional; uncertain (9)

3 to dedicate or to declare sacred (10)

5 instructing and improving spiritually or morally (8)

6 seriousness; importance (7)

8 bottomless hole, a vast expanse or depth (5)

12 a support or prop (8)

13 to disapprove regretfully; to belittle; to express mild disapproval (9)

16 to make wrinkles or grooves (6)


Chapter Summaries


15


1. The narrator describes the village he lives in during World War I. Seven thousand soldiers die of cholera in the winter.
2. Lt. Henry (the narrator) and his unit move to Gorizia. They are in a mess hall and make sexual jokes to make fun of a priest, but Henry is nice to him.
3. Henry discusses his trip with Rinaldi, and lends him money to impress an English nurse named Catherine. Henry feels bad and explains to the priest why he didn’t take his advice.
4. Henry follows Rinaldi to the hospital, where they meet Catherine Barkley and Helen Ferguson, both nurses. Henry and Catherine talk, Rinaldi thinks Catherine likes Henry.
5. Henry goes to see Catherine, misses her, and drives along the new trenches. He then sees her and, after she rejects him initially, she lets him kiss her.
6. Catherine and Henry meet and discuss their relationship. He lies and tells her he loves her, she knows he is lying and he gets confused.
7. Henry meets a soldier who has intentionally let himself get injured to avoid fighting. Henry tells him to hit his head so he can get out of the fighting definitely. Henry feels lonely when he hears that Catherine is sick.
8. Henry heads to the battle front, but stops to see Catherine. She gives him a medal to protect him.
9. Henry arrives at the front lines in Pavla, where the men debate the war. The fighting starts and Henry is hurt and taken to the hospital, where his leg is treated.
10. Rinaldi visits Henry, who is suffering, in the hospital to tell him that he will be honored; Henry doesn’t want to be. Rinaldi promises to send for Catherine.
11. The priest comes to visit Henry, and they discuss the war and religion.
12. The major and Rinaldi come to visit Henry to discuss the progress of the war (America has joined). Henry sets out for Milan, where Catherine has been transferred, and gets very drunk on the train.
13. Henry arrives at the hospital in Milan, and, after some delay, gets a room. He also meets Ms. Van Campen, Mrs. Walker, and Ms. Gage, all nurses at the hospital.
14. Miss Gage asks Henry why he didn’t share a drink with her, and tells him she doesn’t like Catherine. Henry gets a shave. Catherine arrives, Henry realizes that he loves her, and they sleep together.
15. Doctors examine Henry’s leg and decide it will take a while before they can perform surgery, but Dr. Valentini meets Henry, has a drink with him, and decides to do the surgery the very next day.
16. Catherine spends the night with Henry and prepares him for his operation. They discuss their relationship.
17. Henry gets very sick after his surgery. While he recovers, Nurse Ferguson tells him Catherine needs time off, which Henry convinces the head nurse to grant her. After Catherine gets a break, she comes back to see Henry.
18. It is summertime, Henry is walking on crutches. He and Catherine feel married, but don’t marry, since they would send her away from the front if she was a married woman.
19. Henry spends time with an older couple, Mr and Mrs Meyers. He goes to a chocolate shop to get Catherine something, and meets Moretti, Simmons, and Saunders. He then talks to Catherine about Moretti.
20. Henry, Catherine, Helen ("Fergie"), and another boy from the hospital go to the horse races.
21. Henry gets news that the Allies are losing, and he will return to the front in three weeks. Catherine tells him she is pregnant, and he is happy about it.
22. Henry gets jaundice. Ms Van Campen blames it on alcohol and takes away his stash.
23. Henry and Catherine spend one last day in Milan together before he leaves for the front.
24. Henry sends Catherine back to the hospital and gets on a train, where after a small incident he has to sleep on the floor.
25. Henry discusses the war with the mayor of Gorizia. He meets up with Rinaldi again, who wants to know about Henry and Catherine.
26. Henry has a discussion with the priest over the progress of the war.
27. Henry travels to the front, where he meets and talks with Gino. They are bombarded at night, but learn that the Italian line is broken. They return to Gorizia to find that everyone (including Rinaldi) have left.
28. The men retreat slowly out of the town, and Henry dreams of Catherine, whom he misses.
2
16
9. Aymo’s car gets stuck, and Henry ends up shooting an engineer who didn’t want to stop and help. He is wounded, but Bonello shoots him dead. They end up continuing on foot.
30. Henry and his men go along a separate retreat route, and end up getting shot at by the Italians themselves. They hide in a farmhouse, and later rejoin up with the army. The army is interrogating and shooting officers for the Italian defeat, so Henry escapes after being taken.
31. Henry escapes down a river, then in a train and in a car.
32. Henry lies under a canvas and thinks about his leg, the war and, especially, Catherine.
33. Henry gets to Milan, stops by a wine shop, and visits the hospital, where he learns that Catherine has left. He visits Simmons to learn how to escape to Switzerland.
34. Henry goes to Stresa, and is joyfully reunited with Catherine, though Helen gets angry at him for ruining Catherine’s life. He won’t read the papers, and Catherine assures him he is not bad for leaving the Italian army.
35. Henry, Catherine, and Helen have lunch. Henry meets Count Greffi again. They discuss the war and religion.
36. Emilio tells Henry that the police plan to arrest him, and give Catherine and Henry his boat and supplies to escape to Switzerland.
37. Catherine and Henry make it to Switzerland after intense rowing. They are taken by the police, but given Swiss visas.
38. Henry and Catherine have moved into a house; it is autumn. They discuss marriage, which Catherine agrees to eventually. Catherine and Henry discuss whether he feels edgy, and how to solve this..
39. Catherine and Henry go for a walk and enjoy being alone. Henry tells Catherine she doesn’t have to change for him to keep loving her.
40. Catherine and Henry move to be closer to the hospital in January.
41. Catherine goes into labor and gives birth to a stillborn child, whom Henry feels nothing for. Catherine bleeds to death with Henry by her side. He cannot find the words to say goodbye.



Explanation




Share with your friends:
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9




The database is protected by copyright ©www.essaydocs.org 2020
send message

    Main page